One woman's view: In praise of First Lady Melania Trump

October 15, 2018

“I think it’s very important that we show the world that America cares,” said Melania Trump, speaking while in Africa for last week’s ABC “20/20” profile, “Being Melania:  The First Lady.”  She continued:  “And that this administration cares.  And I care.  When other people have more opportunities, then the world is more free.”  (Well, actually, she said “more freer,” but I cut her some slack, not only because English is her fifth language but also because she was right.)

Melania was treated mostly decently this time, as the object of the show was very obviously to contrast her thoughtfulness and compassion with Trump’s seeming lack of same and, in doing so, make the President look as bad as they possibly could.  Still, in general, from the moment Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President, Melania has been treated shabbily by the media, most pointedly by the fashion world.  Though I don’t spend much time with “women’s” magazines, I see them at the hair salon often enough to know what’s going on with the fashion industry.   At a time when magazines are struggling to stay alive, those publishers insist on trafficking in liberal politics so often that I and approximately half of the potential market can hardly stomach them.

Seems like a bad business decision to me, but these publishers from the Upper West Side bubble will put the grotesque Lena Dunham (to cite one just example) on their covers, but not Melania Trump.  Designers even refuse to dress the First Lady, who is tall and gorgeous and used to be A MODEL.  My thanks to Dolce & Gabbana for showing some sense and actually stepping up to design for her.

 

Melania has received withering criticism for some fashion choices that seemed fine to me, and scant praise for some of the most beautiful representations of fashion that I have ever seen.  And I notice that she (or some wonderful person on her staff) puts a lot of thought into choices for particular occasions, especially when she is traveling to other countries.  When in Belgium, for example, she wore a gorgeous Battenberg lace dress that I’m sure was an homage to the Belgian lace industry.  In Asia, her clothes were a beautiful nod to Eastern fashion, and so forth.  If she gets credit for this kind of sensitivity, I haven’t seen it anywhere.  For all I know, it’s the reverse and she’s accused of “cultural appropriation.”  Personally, I believe anyone who accuses anyone of cultural appropriation needs to appropriate some brain cells.


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Earlier this year, actor James Woods tweeted what I’d been saying for a long time:  “If the Trumps were Democrats, Melania would be on the cover of every chic women’s magazine every month.”  To bring the point home, he accompanied his tweet with a glamorous shot of Melania in a blue strapless dress.  It’s stunningly true:  Melania has not been on the cover of even one fashion magazine since her husband became President.  In contrast, Newsweek reported in April that Michelle Obama had appeared on twelve magazine covers while her husband was President, including three for Vogue.     

 

Democratic elitists worship style and image among their own.  I believe style is a huge part of why Obama, with his slim, confident good looks and dazzling smile, got to the head of the political line so fast, and why young, photogenic and ignorant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly became the socialist darling on college campuses around the country.  It’s why JFK and Jackie were worshiped as the king and queen of Camelot, and why JFK Jr. was seen early on as Presidential material.  They’re doing the same thing right now to try to push “Beto” O’Rourke as a new star; I hope Texans are smart enough to reject the ploy.  Frankly, I’d vote for someone who looked like Mr. Potato Head if he were an effective and principled conservative leader.

 

Anyway, if Melania were a Democratic First Lady, designers would be killing each other for the privilege of dressing her.  She would be on magazine covers as no First Lady has ever been.  News analyst Brit Hume, speaking on FOX News Sunday –- after former Hillary senior advisor Philippe Reines slammed Melania’s performance in the ABC interview as “cringe-worthy” –-  expressed my view perfectly:  “Can you imagine if she were the spouse of a Democratic President, the ADORING coverage that she would receive?  And she has not gotten that.  She has been treated either, almost completely ignored –- she’s not on the cover of the big fashion magazines all the time the way a Democratic first lady who looks like her would be, and she’s often mocked and ridiculed.  Now, whether or not that makes her one of the most bullied persons on earth, I don’t know, but her complaint is not without some basis.”

 

Hume actually got some pushback on that, which bothered me because he was right.  (As for the bullying, I’ve seen the filthy and hateful tweets directed at her and would say she’s bullied as badly as anyone could be.)  But Karl Rove said what I would have, that this is an independent woman worthy of admiration and appreciation.  She was asked some uncomfortable questions about her husband and made it clear that she would deal with those issues in her own way. 

 

At the close of the interview, Melania was asked if she loves her husband (!), and she said with a smile that, yes, she does, and that the media are not always correct.  (Now there’s something she and her husband can agree on!)  Perhaps I’m jut not remembering, but I don’t recall any other First Lady being asked straight out if she loved her husband, not even Hillary after the revelations about Bill’s mega-philandering.  For this show, however, they even dragged out old clips that some had interpreted at the time to show discord between the two, such as one coming off Air Force One in which she appears to brush Trump’s hand away.  But that image doesn’t stick; the President strikes me as loving and generous in giving Melania the credit she deserves.

 

“If you like President Trump, she is a great, elegant asset to him and to the country; she’s a great First Lady,” said ABC’s Terry Moran.  “If you don’t like President Trump, she is either the Beauty who lives with the Beast, or the princess trapped in the castle with the dragon, or the arm candy on the billionaire.”  Now, I must confess that this observation confused my poor little female brain; those on the left are supposed to be automatically pro-woman; how can they dismiss any woman as a “princess” or mere “arm candy”?  Yet, they manage to do this with Melania.  Such hypocrites.


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Melania appeared to me to be a very centered person, true to herself, as she summed up what is important to her, simply and beautifully, at the end of the interview.  “Listen to yourself,” she said.  “I always ask myself, what is my priority?  What do I want to do --- what is good for our child, and for me, and for my husband.  And I do those steps.”

 

Even her decision to get on the plane wearing a jacket that said, “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?,” though widely misinterpreted, made sense to me as a message to the media.  Sure enough, when she was asked about it during the interview, that’s what she said.  In her words, “It was for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me, and I want to show them that I don’t care, you can criticize, whatever you want to say, but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right.”

 

And maybe it means that when it comes right down to it, she doesn’t care if she’s on the cover of Vogue, either.

 

https://www.newsweek.com/melania-trump-magazine-covers-model-878777

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Comments 1-25 of 43

  • June Livingston

    10/21/2018 11:55 PM

    I would like Melania Trump to know we admire, appreciation and are praying for her. She had shown more integrity and grace under fire than most women I have seen in such a public position as hers. I, as a woman, am praying for her ( and I am sure there are many others are doing so as well). Melania, you are not alone. God is with you. Stand strong in Him.

  • Kimberly Giles

    10/20/2018 06:06 AM

    Never commented before. Wish there were more journalist like you. Great read from start to finish. Thank you

  • Joyce Otto

    10/19/2018 10:11 AM

    Loved this article.....it's right ON! OUR FIRST LADY, Melania Trump is a TRUE and BEAUTIFUL FIRST LADY........those that say such ugly things about her are just jealous...........She is married to an awesome United States President!!!!!!! President Donald Trump! Thank GOD he IS President.
    They both have brought some "CLASS" back into the White House which was missing for eight years.

  • Deborah Myers

    10/17/2018 10:57 AM

    Melania is a beautiful, kind and smart woman. She is a wonderful First Lady and an outstanding representative for our Country. In my opinion , she is one of the most outstanding First Ladies we have seen.

  • Darlene Tomkinson

    10/17/2018 09:17 AM

    "One woman's view" is the view of every strong woman with conservative values. Feminists don't have a clue about inner strength. They are too full of anger and hatred hatred. They are weak unless they are with like minded feminists. Truly strong women can stand alone with confidence.

  • Jeanne Weller

    10/17/2018 09:00 AM

    I am very disturbed and saddened by the treatment she (and her husband) have received from the media coverage of them. You are right in saying she has been disrespected and criticized as well as ignored .. she is a very intelligent and sharp first lady, I am very proud of her... Would love to have her as a friend!

  • Kathleen Quinn

    10/17/2018 08:25 AM

    Your article on Melania was very good and very much appreciated. I think she is the classiest First Lady we have had, probably since Jackie O. The Trump Hatred/Derangement syndrome has made ordinary people both blind and stupid—combined with a total aversion to the truth, if anything positive is said about Mr. Trump or his family. It is said that “...Sin darkens the intellect.” The hatred of Trump has done that in ways that are stunning, as so many otherwise sane people are saying the most irrational things I have ever heard. It might be humorous, if it were not for the fact that I believe it has become dangerous in every sense of that word.
    Thanks for a great article!
    Kathleen Quinn

  • Monica Dalton

    10/16/2018 09:16 AM

    Thank you for your article about Melania. She is fabulous - a class act. Keep up the good work FLOTUS!

  • STEPHEN CITRON

    10/16/2018 05:10 AM

    AS to the subject of Melania's fashions, and her poise and grace, I am a man who would love to have her as my Wife's best friend, confident and as a neighbor. She has shown such great restraint, and poise when dealing with the scum suckers, who would portray her as "arm candy" for a rich man.

  • Linda Olds

    10/16/2018 12:51 AM

    I agree that Melania has been neglected by the fashion media and abused by the rest of the media. She is beautiful, stylish, intelligent, compassionate, and strong, but they hate her because she's Mrs. Trump.
    Another of your points is important, and not brought up enough. The left judges people by their surface, not by their substance. They adore the Obamas, JFK, and other Kennedys because they are/were outwardly attractive, not because of what they've done. Ted Kennedy allowed a young woman to die because he was worried about how their accident would affect his bid to be president. Other Kennedys didn't have time to show what they'd do, but are adored anyway just because they're attractive and because they're Kennedys.
    The left makes fun of President Trump's looks and his way of speaking, but never acknowledge his love for America, or his accomplishments. The left is showing how shallow they are.

  • Diane Hardesty

    10/15/2018 10:59 PM

    She is by far one of the most classic and beautiful First Lady’s we have had in a very long time. She is above being on the magazines that were mentioned, which I wouldn’t read or look at anyway, and never did. She is smart enough to dress herself, and always looks great. Also very educated, and actually I believe she may very well intimidate a lot of people. Thank you for this article about her.


  • Diane Hardesty

    10/15/2018 10:59 PM

    She is by far one of the most classic and beautiful First Lady’s we have had in a very long time. She is above being on the magazines that were mentioned, which I wouldn’t read or look at anyway, and never did. She is smart enough to dress herself, and always looks great. Also very educated, and actually I believe she may very well intimidate a lot of people. Thank you for this article about her.


  • Elaine Liming

    10/15/2018 10:54 PM

    As my grandmother would often say "Class is not about how you look and dress". Melania has class; she is true to herself, her family, her young son, and has a smile for those she meets, that show she cares about them. She acts like the president's wife and is a classy First Lady.

  • Don Chenault

    10/15/2018 10:10 PM

    Liked the article. Mrs. Trump is beautiful, gracious, and kind. The whole Trump family has been brutalized, something I have not seen in all my years. Shameful treatment. Thank you for your balanced approach. You read the comments. I read your column. :-)

  • John Parker

    10/15/2018 09:01 PM

    Melania Trump is a paid whore. She no more loves her husband than a prostitute loves her johns.

  • Annette Rouse

    10/15/2018 08:12 PM

    I find our First Lady to be elegant, intelligent, and down right classy. I found some of the questions insulting for a First Lady and can simply not believe what I was hearing when asked if she lived her husband! What in the world did this person expect her to say or was this simply another way to show disrespect! Further, what in the world was President Trump thinking to do this interview with a “journalist“ on CBS , no less, who clearly by tone and expression only wanted to mock him and show the highest form of disrespect I’ve ever seen shown to any president. So Why Did He Do It???

  • Cheryl Jongeneel

    10/15/2018 05:08 PM

    I have already defended her behavior saying, "She refuses to do the smile for the media or pretend to enjoy their attention." They treat her horribly and she gives it back to them. The truth is that the media does not deserve any attention from her. She will not do anything to satisfy them because she really does not care. But she sure does care about children! Her face lights up at the sight of one and she is quick to show all of them loving kindness. She is beautiful, but can be totally unconcerned with herself when someone else matters. Her history is her history. She has grown into a wonderful woman with great compassion. That is what matters. And, by the way, she is seriously intelligent!

  • Sharon Neff

    10/15/2018 04:08 PM

    Another insightful article, Laura! Keep it up!
    This is a woman who has learned to deal with the issues in her life and move forward. Very gracious and I'm proud that she is my First Lady!

  • Vickie Fiorentino

    10/15/2018 03:40 PM

    And everything the last 1st woman (cannot call her a lady) did and wore was a disaster! Down to the portraits which were the epitome of trashy! Melania rivals and exceeds fashion from the Kennedy era as well as the Reagans...Demos will have nothing for their mags come 2020 either!
    I VOTED BY MAIL!

  • ANN L BRUCE-PINEDA

    10/15/2018 03:09 PM

    Another caravan, which is said to have left Honduras Friday with 160 immigrants, now may have 1,600 people headed for the U.S. border.

  • Vicki L Kuhl

    10/15/2018 02:40 PM

    Vogue? What's Vogue! I know Melania, she is my president's wife. That's all the Vogue I need.

  • ANN L BRUCE-PINEDA

    10/15/2018 02:35 PM

    Great article about FLOTUS. She is the best we've ever had in the White House. Follett's last part of his trilogy: WWI, WWII, and the Cold War era, provides history about the respective periods. The last is historical fiction, not history, but is very different from the typical Camelot myth.

  • Judy Chappell

    10/15/2018 01:39 PM

    The Melania Trump interview was very insightful as to her intelligence and ability to handle inappropriate questions on her own. She would answer a somewhat "questionable" question with a brief, thoughtful statement and then say that she would just leave it there. She knows how to deflect when necessary while letting media know she can handle the situation. She is beautiful, articulate and an amazing representative for the President and our country. I pray that both she and the President are able to withstand the insatiable criticism thrust upon them daily and continue to MAGA!

  • Charles Greer

    10/15/2018 01:11 PM

    First Lady Melania is the greatest! She is cool, smart, collected and beautiful!

  • Sandra Gray

    10/15/2018 12:45 PM

    I do remember both Barbara Bush and Laura Bush being on some covers, like Woman's Day, McCalls, Good Housekeeping - you know - those helpful neighborly magazines.